famed medical provider johns hopkins found liable in birth injury case

When you enter the emergency room of a local hospital, you are undoubtedly frightened and concerned about the state of your health. However, there is also a part of you that relaxes just a little bit, trusting that the trained medical professionals will provide the necessary level of care. As we know by now, however, this trust can be misplaced as physicians, nurses and other hospital staff sometimes commit devastating medical malpractice resulting in irreparable harm to you or a loved one.

To illustrate, consider a recent case where a jury held renowned medical facility Johns Hopkins Hospital and its parent company, Johns Hopkins Health Systems Corp., liable for medical malpractice, handing down one of the largest awards in the history of the state.

The lawsuit was filed by two parents whose now two-year-old boy is suffering from cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder caused by a loss of oxygen to the brain.

According to the complaint, the parents wanted to have the birth performed in their family home with the assistance of a midwife back in March 2010. However, complications developed during labor and the mother was taken by ambulance to nearby Johns Hopkins for treatment.

The complaint goes on to allege that the mother had to wait more than two hours for an emergency Caesarean section and that her as-yet-unborn son suffered oxygen deprivation during this lengthy interval.

The jury found this argument persuasive and awarded the couple $55 million, including $25 million for future medical expenses, $4 million for future lost wages and $26 million for non-economic damages (reduced to $665,000 due to a state cap).

While no amount of money can erase the physical and emotional trauma of the hospital’s medical malpractice, it will still enable the parents to provide the care that their child so desperately needs.

For her part, the mother hopes that the verdict serves as a constant reminder to Johns Hopkins to remain vigilant when it comes to patient care.

“I don’t know what was going on in their brains, and I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, and I don’t know what was going on with other patients, but whatever it was that went wrong … I hope that it was at least a wake-up call or a learning experience and that it doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Jury awards Waverly family $55 million in Hopkins malpractice case,” Yvonne Wenger and Kevin Rector, June 26, 2012

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